by Jon Farley
illustration Ted Walke
An often-overlooked yet plentiful gamefish in Pennsylvania is the chain pickerel. These "mini-muskies" inhabit most of our lakes and can be caught with a variety of lures and baits. Live shiners, small crankbaits, and oversized trout spinners fished with light-action rods are all good choices for pickerel. Concentrate your efforts along the edges of shallow weed beds.
You need every advantage you can get in late summer and early fall when low, clear water is the norm on most waterways and fish are extra wary. One way to counteract a fish's keen eyesight this time of year is to wear camouflage. If you don't own any camo apparel, stick to darker colors, avoiding brightly colored or white clothing.
A standard way of rigging a live minnow is to thread the line through the minnow's mouth and out the vent, and then tie on a double hook, and pull the line until just the bend and point of the hook are exposed. Double hooks can be hard to obtain, though. Instead, try substituting small treble hooks. They can be rigged in the same manner and work even better because of the extra point.
Gluing a small piece of foam to the inside of your boat or canoe gives you a convenient place to store lures and hooks while fishing. This eliminates the hassle of having to open and close your tackle box constantly, and it allows you to keep a day's supply of your favorite fish-catchers right at your fingertips. If the idea of attaching it permanently doesn't appeal to you, you can always use Velcro instead of an adhesive.
Tube baits are quickly becoming one of the most popular bass lures in the state. Many veteran bass anglers believe these squid-like rubber lures imitate the action of injured baitfish better than traditional rubber worms. Try fishing a Carolina-rigged one the next time you go after bucketmouths or smallies.
Many beginning fly tiers are led to believe that whip-finishing is needed to complete a fly properly. This is simply not the case. Finishing off the head of a fly with three or four tight half-hitches and a dab of head cement leaves the fly head every bit as durable as a whip-finished one, even if it's not quite as smooth-looking. And unlike whip-finishing, you need no hard-to-learn techniques or special tools.
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September/October 1999 Table of Contents
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